Recalling that I had once accidentally purchased glutinous rice flour instead of plain glutinous rice, I set out making tangyuan. Strawberries were not included in the recipe; in its place was an indulgent peanut butter-sesame spread.
(Recipe adapted from Octochan @ Instructables)
- 400g glutinous rice flour (approx. 4.5 cups)
- 3-4 cups water
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 tbsp peanut butter *
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds *
- 5 tbsp black sesame seeds *
- 75 g matcha jelly/matcha anko *
- 0.7-0.9 cups of rock sugar *
- 5 cups water
- 1-2 knobs of ginger (opt.)
1) Place sesame seeds in a shallow pan over medium-high heat. Once popping sounds are heard, reduce the heat the medium, constantly stirring to prevent burning.
2) Remove from heat once white sesame seeds have turned to a golden brown.
3) Grind with a mortar and pestle or fine food processor to the desired consistency. (I crushed majority of the seeds to a fine crumb but allowed several whole bits to remain to add texture).
4) Add peanut butter and mix well. Set aside. It is highly recommended to spoon softer fillings onto a lined baking tray and freeze thoroughly before attempting to wrap them. (I tried to seal my tangyuan without freezing the fillings beforehand and saw little success without piling on additional layers of dough.)
5) Chop matcha jelly into pieces roughly measuring 1-2 cm. Set aside.
1) Line two baking trays with wax paper. Set aside. (More trays may be needed for a larger portion.)
2) Place glutinous rice flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add vegetable oil and one third of the water.
3) Begin mixing with a spoon until large crumbs begin to form. Gradually add in more water while kneading. Repeat this process until the dough has a uniform, smooth texture. The surface should be glossy, but water should be not seeping through towards the bottom of the bowl. Keep in mind that more or less water may be required depending on the desired consistency and presence of filling(s).
4) To serve the dessert without fillings, knead the dough until it just begins to gleam. Separate chunks of the dough and roll into spheres measuring 1 inch in diameter. Place on baking trays to set.
5) To serve the dessert with fillings, knead the dough until the surface is smooth and glossy. Be sure to keep a small dish of water handy to supplement moisture as the dough dehydrates with air exposure.
6) Separate chunks of dough and roll into balls measuring 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Flatten the balls such that the middle section is slightly thicker than the edges. If the edges show signs of cracking, place the ball back into the bowl, add water, and knead again.
7) Place fillings at the centre of the flattened dough ball and seal with care. Should the dough casing break, patch the hole with a thin layer of dough and reshape. If necessary, decrease the amount of filling to prevent spillage.
8) Repeat until all ingredients have been used up. Place on baking trays to set.
9) Once set, transfer the glutinous rice balls to a plastic bag and store in the freezer. They should last for at least one week, though quick consumption is recommended to ensure freshness.
iii) Sugar Syrup
1) Combine rock sugar, ginger, and water in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar lumps. Reduce to low heat once the mixture begins bubbling.
2) Simmer until ginger knobs appear dehydrated, or until an aromatic waft of spiciness can be perceived. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
3) If not consuming immediately, chill in the fridge in an airtight container.
iv) Cooking Instructions
1) Glutinous rice balls should be stored in the freezer and boiled to order.
2) Bring water to a roaring boil in a medium saucepan. Add in glutinous rice balls and reduce to medium heat.
3) Allow the glutinous rice balls to cook uncovered. Reduce to medium heat if bubbling turns ferocious, as this can cause splitting of the casing.
4) Once the glutinous rice balls begin to float, continue to boil for 1-2 minutes to ensure interior is cooked thoroughly.
5) Remove from heat immediately and rinse with cold water. This will prohibit the shell from becoming mushy and halt splitting if present.
6) Serve with warmed sugar syrup. Enjoy!
- This recipe was modified accordingly based on the amount of glutinous rice flour on hand. I opted to empty the entire packet (400g) and amplify the original measurements via a similar ratio. Should you wish to use an amount smaller/greater than the 400g specified above, please take heed to scale your ingredients accordingly.
- When toasting black sesame seeds, it is crucial to include a few white sesame seeds in the pan. Colour changes are made more visible with the white sesame seeds, preventing burning of the entire batch.
- Matcha jelly/matcha anko was utilized as a second filling, though can be substituted with other substances of preference. The sole requirement is that the substance should be relatively viscous, if not solid. Should one choose to use matcha anko, I have found a recipe here and a purchasing link here. (For Toronto locals, I obtained my 150 g block from Sanko on Queen West.)
- The peanut butter to sesame seed ratio is up to one's own discretion; peanut butter can also be swapped for other nut butters should peanut allergies be an issue.
- To render this recipe vegan, simply omit the jelly (as it contains gelatin) and substitute the filling with an unprocessed nut butter.
- Dessert soup-appropriate rock sugar can be purchased in the form of brown sugar slabs or assymetrical white crystals. Either can be utilized for this recipe. If including ginger, it is recommended to use at least one brown sugar slab for its richer depth.
- Personally, a lighter sugar syrup is preferred. However, feel free to adjust the amount of inputted sugar to your own liking.